U2's Rose Bowl show breaks U.S. attendance record

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - It took 22 years, but U2 has broken its own attendance record for the best-attended single concert performance at a U.S. venue by one headliner.

April Dalaman holds a sign as she waits before a concert by rock band U2 at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The band’s 360 Tour played the Pasadena, California, Rose Bowl on October 25 to a sellout crowd of 97,014 -- the highest attendance on record for one U.S. show by a single headliner based on box office totals reported to Billboard.

The old record was set on September 25, 1987, at the now-demolished John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia with a crowd of 86,145 in attendance for the band’s Joshua Tree Tour.

This year’s Rose Bowl performance grossed more than $9.9 million, considerably more than the 1987 Philly show, which brought in a mere $1.5 million in ticket sales.

Among the top five single-concert attendances on record in the U.S., the top three are all U2 performances. The third-highest attendance is also from the band’s current tour, at its September 29 sellout at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, with 84,754.

Pink Floyd’s May 29, 1994, show at the Ohio State University football stadium is in fourth place with 75,250. The Backstreet Boys round out the top five with a sold-out show at the Georgia Dome on February 19, 2000, when 73,337 fans filled the Atlanta stadium to see the pop group’s Into the Millennium Tour.

U2’s Rose Bowl show excelled in gross ticket sales as well as attendance. With $9.96 million grossed, it is the second-highest-grossing single U.S. concert by a solo headliner. The concert is second only to the Three Tenors’ July 20, 1996, sold-out show at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Rolling Stones make up the rest of this top-five list with a Giants Stadium concert of its own on September 15, 2005, a sold-out benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall on March 14, 2006, and an outdoor show at Chicago’s Soldier Field on September 10, 2005.


1. U2 - Rose Bowl; Pasadena, Calif. (October 25, 2009) Attendance: 97,014 Gross: $9,960,036

2. U2 - John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia (September 25, 1987) Attendance: 86,145 Gross: $1,593,683

3. U2 - FedExField; Landover, Md. (September 29, 2009) Attendance: 84,754 Gross: $6,718,315

4. Pink Floyd - Ohio State University Stadium; Columbus, Ohio (May 29, 1994) Attendance: 75,250 Gross: $2,406,920

5. Backstreet Boys - Georgia Dome, Atlanta (February 19, 2000) Attendance: 73,337 Gross: $2,787,098


1. The Three Tenors - Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. (July 20, 1996) Gross: $13,404,350 Attendance: 58,491

2. U2 - Rose Bowl; Pasadena, Calif. (October 25, 2009) Gross: $9,960,036 Attendance: 97,014

3. The Rolling Stones - Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. (September 15, 2005) Gross: $8,692,788 Attendance: 59,184

4. The Rolling Stones - Radio City Music Hall, New York (March 14, 2006) Gross: $8,625,590 Attendance: 5,800

5. The Rolling Stones - Soldier Field, Chicago (September 10, 2005) Gross: $7,231,427 Attendance: 55,046